Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics

Tianjin, China

Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics

Tianjin, China

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Liu B.,Nankai University | Liu B.,The Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Knirel Y.A.,RAS N. D. Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry | Feng L.,Nankai University | And 9 more authors.
FEMS Microbiology Reviews | Year: 2014

This review covers the structures and genetics of the 46 O antigens of Salmonella, a major pathogen of humans and domestic animals. The variation in structures underpins the serological specificity of the 46 recognized serogroups. The O antigen is important for the full function and virulence of many bacteria, and the considerable diversity of O antigens can confer selective advantage. Salmonella O antigens can be divided into two major groups: those which have N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) or N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) and those which have galactose (Gal) as the first sugar in the O unit. In recent years, we have determined 21 chemical structures and sequenced 28 gene clusters for GlcNAc-/GalNAc-initiated O antigens, thus completing the structure and DNA sequence data for the 46 Salmonella O antigens. The structures and gene clusters of the GlcNAc-/GalNAc-initiated O antigens were found to be highly diverse, and 24 of them were found to be identical or closely related to Escherichia coli O antigens. Sequence comparisons indicate that all or most of the shared gene clusters were probably present in the common ancestor, although alternative explanations are also possible. In contrast, the better-known eight Gal-initiated O antigens are closely related both in structures and gene cluster sequences. In this review, we systematically analyzed and summarized Salmonella O-antigen diversity including the chemical structures, gene cluster sequences, and evolutionary aspects. © 2013 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.


Zhu H.,Nankai University | Zhu H.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Wang Q.,Nankai University | Wang Q.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2012

Neisseria meningitidis is a leading pathogen of epidemic bacterial meningitis and fulminant sepsis worldwide. Twelve different N. meningitidis serogroups have been identified to date based on antigenic differences in the capsular polysaccharide. However, more than 90% of human cases of N. meningitidis meningitis are the result of infection with just five serogroups, A, B, C, W135, and Y. Efficient methods of detection and genogrouping of N. meningitidis isolates are needed, therefore, in order to monitor prevalent serogroups as a means of disease control and prevention. The capsular gene complex regions have been sequenced from only seven out of the 12 serogroups. In this study, the capsular gene complexes of the remaining five serogroups were sequenced and analyzed. Primers were designed that were specific for N. meningitidis species and for the 12 individual serogroups, and a multiplex PCR assay using these specific primers was developed for N. meningitidis detection and genogrouping. The assay was tested using 15 reference strains covering all 12 serogroups, 143 clinical isolates, and 21 strains from closely related species or from species that cause meningitis. The assay could detect N. meningitidis serogroups and was shown to be specific, with a detection sensitivity of 1 ng of genomic DNA (equivalent to ∼4 × 10 5 genomes) or 3 × 10 5 CFU/ml in noncultured mock cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens. This study, therefore, describes for the first time the development of a molecular protocol for the detection of all N. meningitidis serogroups. This multiplex PCR-based assay may have use for the clinical diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance of N. meningitidis. Copyright © 2012, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Sun Y.,Nankai University | Sun Y.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | Wang M.,Nankai University | Wang M.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | And 13 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2012

The Gram-negative bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii is an emerging food-borne pathogen that causes severe invasive infections in neonates. Variation in the O-antigen lipopolysaccharide in the outer membrane provides the basis for Gram-negative bacteria serotyping. The O-antigen serotyping scheme for C. sakazakii, which includes seven serotypes (O1 to O7), has been recently established, and the O-antigen gene clusters and specific primers for three C. sakazakii serotypes (O1, O2, and O3) have been characterized. In this study, the C. sakazakii O4, O5, O6, and O7 O-antigen gene clusters were sequenced, and gene functions were predicted on the basis of homology. C. sakazakii O4 shared a similar O-antigen gene cluster with Escherichia coli O103. The general features and anomalies of all seven C. sakazakii O-antigen gene clusters were evaluated and the relationship between O-antigen structures and their gene clusters were investigated. Serotype-specific genes for O4 to O7 were identified, and a molecular serotyping method for all C. sakazakii O serotypes, a multiplex PCR assay, was developed by screening against 136 strains of C. sakazakii and closely related species. The sensitivity of PCR-based serotyping method was determined to be 0.01 ng of genomic DNA and 103 CFU of each strain/ml. This study completes the elucidation of C. sakazakii O-antigen genetics and provides a molecular method suitable for the identification of C. sakazakii O1 to O7 strains. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.


Liu D.,Nankai University | Cai J.,Nankai University | Cai J.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Cai J.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | And 5 more authors.
Enzyme and Microbial Technology | Year: 2010

Chitinase A (ChiA) produced by Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. colmeri 15A3 (Bt. 15A3) was expressed in Escherichia coli XL-Blue. The ChiA was purified using Sephadex G-200 and its molecular mass was estimated to be 36 kDa by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Detection of chitinase activity on SDS-PAGE after protein renaturation indicated that the molecular mass of the protein band expressing chitinase activity was approximately 72 kDa. This suggests that the dimeric form of ChiA is the enzymatically active form when glycol chitin is used as a substrate. ChiA has optimal activity at 50 °C and retains most of its activity between 20 and 60 °C. The optimum pH for ChiA activity is pH 5.0, and the enzyme is active between pH 4.0 and 8.0. The enzyme activity was significantly inhibited by Ag+ and Zn2+. ChiA significantly inhibited the spore germination of four species of fungi. The median inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of ChiA on the spore germination of Penicillium glaucum and Sclerotinia fuckelian were 11.27 and 10.57 μg/ml, respectively. In surface contamination bioassays, the crude ChiA protein (12.6 mU) reduced the LC50 (50% lethal concentration) of the crystal protein of Bt. 15A3 against the larvae of Spodoptera exigua and Helicoverpa armigera. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Wang W.,Nankai University | Wang W.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | Ma T.,Nankai University | Lian K.,Nankai University | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Sulfur can be removed from benzothiophene (BT) by some bacteria without breaking carbon-carbon bonds. However, a clear mechanism for BT desulfurization and its genetic components have not been reported in literatures so far. In this study, we used comparative transcriptomics to study differential expression of genes in Gordonia terrae C-6 cultured with BT or sodium sulfate as the sole source of sulfur. We found that 135 genes were up-regulated with BT relative to sodium sulfate as the sole sulfur source. Many of these genes encode flavin-dependent monooxygenases, alkane sulfonate monooxygenases and desulfinase, which perform similar functions to those involved in the 4S pathway of dibenzothiophene (DBT) biodesulfurization. Three of the genes were found to be located in the same operon, designated bdsABC. Cell extracts of pET28a-bdsABC transfected E. coli Rosetta (DE3) converted BT to a phenolic compound, identified as o-hydroxystyrene. These results advance our understanding of enzymes involved in the BT biodesulfurization pathway. © 2013 Wang et al.


Li P.,The Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Wang L.,Nankai University | Feng L.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics
Journal of Bacteriology | Year: 2013

The cold-tolerant bacterium Pusillimonas sp. strain T7-7 is able to utilize diesel oils (C5 to C30 alkanes) as a sole carbon and energy source. In the present study, bioinformatics, proteomics, and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR approaches were used to identify the alkane hydroxylation system present in this bacterium. This system is composed of a Rieske-type monooxygenase, a ferredoxin, and an NADH-dependent reductase. The function of the monooxygenase, which consists of one large (46.711 kDa) and one small (15.355 kDa) subunit, was further studied using in vitro biochemical analysis and in vivo heterologous functional complementation tests. The purified large subunit of the monooxygenase was able to oxidize alkanes ranging from pentane (C5) to tetracosane (C24) using NADH as a cofactor, with greatest activity on the C15 substrate. The large subunit also showed activity on several alkane derivatives, including nitromethane and methane sulfonic acid, but it did not act on any aromatic hydrocarbons. The optimal reaction condition of the large subunit is pH 7.5 at 30°C. Fe2+ can enhance the activity of the enzyme evidently. This is the first time that an alkane monooxygenase system belonging to the Rieske non-heme iron oxygenase family has been identified in a bacterium. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.


Wang H.,Nankai University | Wang H.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | Liu B.,Nankai University | Liu B.,Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Fis, one of the most important nucleoid-associated proteins, functions as a global regulator of transcription in bacteria that has been comprehensively studied in Escherichia coli K12. Fis also influences the virulence of Salmonella enterica and pathogenic E. coli by regulating their virulence genes, however, the relevant mechanism is unclear. In this report, using combined RNA-seq and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-seq technologies, we first identified 1646 Fis-regulated genes and 885 Fis-binding targets in the S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, and found a Fis regulon different from that in E. coli. Fis has been reported to contribute to the invasion ability of S. enterica. By using cell infection assays, we found it also enhances the intracellular replication ability of S. enterica within macrophage cell, which is of central importance for the pathogenesis of infections. Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPI)-1 and SPI-2 are crucial for the invasion and survival of S. enterica in host cells. Using mutation and overexpression experiments, real-time PCR analysis, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we demonstrated that Fis regulates 63 of the 94 Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI)-1 and SPI-2 genes, by three regulatory modes: i) binds to SPI regulators in the gene body or in upstream regions; ii) binds to SPI genes directly to mediate transcriptional activation of themselves and downstream genes; iii) binds to gene encoding OmpR which affects SPI gene expression by controlling SPI regulators SsrA and HilD. Our results provide new insights into the impact of Fis on SPI genes and the pathogenicity of S. enterica. © 2013 Wang et al.


Yang B.,Nankai University | Yang B.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Feng L.,Nankai University | Feng L.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | And 7 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is an important foodborne pathogen that infects humans by colonizing the large intestine. Here we identify a virulence-regulating pathway in which the biotin protein ligase BirA signals to the global regulator Fur, which in turn activates LEE (locus of enterocyte effacement) genes to promote EHEC adherence in the low-biotin large intestine. LEE genes are repressed in the high-biotin small intestine, thus preventing adherence and ensuring selective colonization of the large intestine. The presence of this pathway in all nine EHEC serotypes tested indicates that it is an important evolutionary strategy for EHEC. The pathway is incomplete in closely related small-intestinal enteropathogenic E. coli due to the lack of the Fur response to BirA. Mice fed with a biotin-rich diet show significantly reduced EHEC adherence, indicating that biotin might be useful to prevent EHEC infection in humans. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Wang X.,Chinese National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention | Li Y.,Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology | Li Y.,Nankai University | Jing H.,Chinese National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2011

Yersinia enterocolitica is a heterogeneous bacterial species with a wide range of animal reservoirs through which human intestinal illness can be facilitated. In contrast to the epidemiological pattern observed in the United States, infections in China present a pattern similar to those in European countries and Japan, wherein "Old World" strains (biotypes 2 to 5) are prevalent. To gain insights into the evolution of Y. enterocolitica and pathogenic properties toward human hosts, we sequenced the genome of a biotype 3 strain, 105.5R(r) (O:9), obtained from a Chinese patient. Comparative genome sequence analysis with strain 8081 (1B/O:8) revealed new insights into Y. enterocolitica. Both strains have more than 14% specific genes. In strain 105.5R(r), putative virulence factors were found in strain-specific genomic pathogenicity islands that comprised a novel type III secretion system and rtx-like genes. Many of the loci representing ancestral clusters, which are believed to contribute to enteric survival and pathogenesis, are present in strain 105.5R(r) but lost in strain 8081. Insertion elements in 105.5R(r) have a pattern distinct from those in strain 8081 and were exclusively located in a strain-specific region. In summary, our comparative genome analysis indicates that these two strains may have attained their pathogenicity by completely separate evolutionary events, and the 105.5R(r) strain, a representative of the Old World biogroup, lies in a branch of Y. enterocolitica that is distinct from the "New World" 8081 strain. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.


PubMed | Nankai University and Tianjin Key Laboratory of Microbial Functional Genomics
Type: | Journal: Food chemistry | Year: 2015

Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are a family of structurally diverse unconjugated glycans that exhibit a wide range of biological activities. In this report, we describe an efficient, Multi-Enzyme One-Pot strategy to produce HMO mimics by the sialylation of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOSs), which are often added to infant formula as an inexpensive alternative to HMOs. In this system, the sialyltransferase donor, cytidine-5-monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid (CMP-Neu5Ac), was generated in situ using a CMP-sialic acid synthetase. The sialylated GOSs were obtained by one-step purification after digesting CMP using the alkaline phosphatase PhoA to cytidine and inorganic phosphate. Although the synthesized 2,3-, 2,6- and 2,3/8-sialyl-GOSs exhibit different sialylation levels and patterns, all of these mixtures can be fermented by Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 but not by Bifidobacterium adolescentis ATCC 15703. The sialidase NanH2, which is unique to the former strain, hydrolyzed all of the synthesized HMO mimics.

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